The closer we get to Christmas, the bigger the early presents Portland keeps recieving. Valerie June blessing us with two nights of soulful stomp? Dan Rather is hanging out at Powell's for a couple hours? Billy Joel is doing his Piano Man thing at the Moda? There's a Portland Hip-Hop Festival wrapping up as a choice little brewfest in North Portland gets underway? A Kurosawa classic on the big screen, and the Dandy Warhols having themselves a cowboy Christmas at the Crystal? That's maybe a tenth of the good stuff on the menu; hit the links below and load your plate accordingly.
Friday, Dec 8
In times like these—when families feud, when the news is a screaming apocalypse, when there are motherfucking Nazis—only one man can bring us together. That man is Billy Joel, the Prince of Long Island and the Troubadour of our Dreams. Hospice-bound geriatrics whisper “Only the Good Die Young” as they tremble and fade; fat babies, warm in the womb, squirm in amniotic fluid to the beat of “Movin' Out”; every time He does karaoke, Jesus insists on doing “We Didn't Start the Fire”; Satan's ringtone is “Uptown Girl.” And now, the Piano Man himself shall bless Portland. His show is, of course, sold out, because our love of Billy Joel is all we have left, and we shall cherish him, and he will heal us. ERIK HENRIKSEN
8 pm, Moda Center, $49.50-149.50
Blitzen Trapper, Lilly Hiatt
Blitzen Trapper has spent most of the past couple of months touring the country in support of their ninth studio album, Wild and Reckless. It’s the recorded version of the folk-rock band’s 2016 musical of the same name, a collaboration with Portland Center Stage that centered on frontman Eric Earley’s semi-autobiographical tales of life in Old Portland. CIARA DOLAN
9 pm, Revolution Hall, $26-29, all ages
Valerie June, Gill Landry
The twangy new-folk music of Valerie June may first strike you as straight-up Nashville—but it runs and cuts so much deeper. With lyrics that range from working class to spiritual, and a sound that pull from so many sources—Appalachia, R&B, roots, blues, and more—June infuses her music with a visceral sense of downhome soul. And don’t be surprised when you’re lulled and pulled into her world, where you’ll find yourself simultaneously shaking that ass and stompin’ that foot. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
8 pm, Aladdin Theater, $27.50, all ages
Portland Hip-Hop Festival and Toy Drive
This weekend marks the return of the Portland Oregon Hip-Hop Festival, after taking a few years off. The venue is only fitting, serving as a last hurrah before The Ash Street closes its doors at the end of the month. POH-Hop fest will feature performances from scene leaders like Rich Hunter, Mic Capes, and many more. There will also be a toy drive, and couple of curated panel discussions (“The Importance of Quality Content” and “The Qualities of a Bookable Artist”) designed to inform and uplift the local hip-hop community. JENNI MOORE
6 pm, Ash Street Saloon, $10-12
The man who hosts the world. He's leveraged a podcasting empire with Nerdist Industries and transformed it into a career hosting shows like The Talking Dead, Talking Bad, Talking Saul and his own dearly departed panel discussion show, @Midnight. He's also a really fucking good bowler. Like, really good.
7:30 pm, 10 pm, Helium Comedy Club, $35
Twerk Du Soleil
Twerk Du Soleil heats up your winter with a night of fire and dance performances by Spinning Spades Flamebuoyant Productions, music from Mr. Moo, Joe My Goodness, and And/Or, and a twerk competition hosted by Jon Dutch. All proceeds will go to benefit Performers Without Borders 2018 Kenya tour, which works to bring circus shows, workshops, and equipment to underprivileged children.
9 pm, Dante's, $10-80
Months, Miss Rayon, Wet Fruit, Bohr
A band of all-star locals, Months includes Point Juncture, WA’s Wilson Vediner and Deer or the Doe’s Aaron Miller on guitars and vocals, joined by Courtney Sheedy (Swim Swam Swum, Houndstooth) on bass and Will Hattman (Down Gown, At Dusk) on drums. NED LANNAMANN
8 pm, Turn! Turn! Turn!, $5
This Patch of Sky, Skull Diver, Eclisse
Winter winds blow through These Small Spaces, the 2017 debut from Eugene post-rockers This Patch of Sky. Throughout Spaces, Alex Abrams’ cello carries melodies over moody arrangements that owe as much to classical composers like Gorecki or Elgar as they do to Mogwai. The album heats up on “Paper Mountains,” with Abrams’ sweet, languid, swing-lo phrasing nodding to an unlikely reference point, Gershwin’s Porgy ’n’ Bess. Kit Day and Josh Carlton help build Abrams’ woody sound, creating an atmosphere of melancholy but also sacred introspection and beatific rapture. This Patch of Sky is more a small classical ensemble than a rock band, and These Small Spaces isn’t so much a collection of songs as it is a series of musical ideas, periodically coming up for air in an icy lake. WILLIAM KENNEDY
8:30 pm, Tonic Lounge, $7-10
The California Honeydrops
The Wonder Ballroom hosts a funky party with band leader Lech Wierzynski and his supertroupe of R&B and soul providers.
9 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $18-20
A celebration of the life and music of Mz. Etta Ward, featuring performances from her friends, who just happen to be some of the best musicians in the city, including La Rhonda Steele, Tyrone Hendrix, Kyle Molitor, Andre J. Zapata, Amy LeSage, and more. Hosted by Tony Ozier.
9 pm, Mission Theater, $15-17
Kuinka, Lenore, Planes on Paper
Defiantly alternative string band Kuinka make "backyard folk" elevated to an almost orchestral level with input from classic string band instrumentation, weighty percussion, the integration of electronic sound production, cello, and six-string ukulele.
9 pm, Mississippi Studios, $12-14
Community Alliance of Tenants Salsa Party
Get your salsa emoji on at Community Alliance of Tenants’ annual fundraising gala and help them continue their work for affordable, safe housing. Grab a light dinner from the buffet, get up to date on the organization’s work, and partake in an hour-long salsa lesson! Bring cash for the full bar. EMILLY PRADO
6:30 pm, Billy Webb Elks Lodge, $25
Saturday, Dec 9
The guy is 86 years old and is still on top of his game. The legendary former anchor of the CBS Evening News is coming to Powell’s to promote his new book What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, a collection of essays about our national identity (which, you know, is kind of in flux right now). It’ll be a timely talk, for sure. A ticket (the same price as what the book costs) to either of the iconic newsman’s talks on Saturday gets you a copy of his book, too.
3 pm, 7 pm, Powell's City of Books, $22.95
Humbug Lager Fest
The problem with winter beer festivals is that after two sips of a piney, figgy, outrageously strong winter ale, you’re done for the night. Which is why North Portland’s Occidental Brewing’s annual Humbug Lager Fest celebrates lagers of all kinds. This year’s the biggest Humbug yet—with visiting brews from more than a dozen breweries, including the German monks at Andechs—and stretches across two exciting, lager-filled days. NED LANNAMANN
Dec 9-10, Fri 2 pm, Sat noon; Occidental Brewing Co., $10
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
The Canadian singer/songwriter known for fronting the indie rock band Metric revisits her Soft Skeleton solo project for the first time in a decade. Catch Haines tonight when she swings through Revolution Hall for an all-ages show supporting her latest release, Choir of the Mind.
9 pm, Revolution Hall, $21-26, all ages
Lord Master, Rllrbll, Lucky Tigers
Times like these call for rock ’n’ roll. While some people look to protest songs as a way to cope, I look for something a little less serious or literal. Lord Master scratches that itch in a swarm of satirical barbs, tasty licks, and rock ’n’ roll riffs. The four-piece has emerged from Portland’s nether regions with a new record called Jello Day, which falls somewhere between Tenacious D and the country and metal sections at your favorite record shop. There’s the paint-peeling “Total Fucking Rock” and “Action Tonight,” but you also get the all-too-real political treatises “Asshat Versus Dumbass” and the prophetic “Year of the Vagina.” This unisex rock band is made up of smart cookies and musical ass-kickers, and Saturday’s record release show will require you to use your noodle while saturating it with alcohol and drugs. My kind of party. MARK LORE
8 pm, The Fixin' To, $5
Edward Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor, and Christopher Bear bring their harmonious blend of psych pop and folk back to Portland for the first time in over half a decade in support of their long-awaited 5th studio album, Painted Ruins.
8 pm, Roseland, $35, all ages
Metz, Moaning, Deathlist
If you’re unfamiliar with the Toronto trio Metz, just take a look at some of the song titles on their new album, Strange Peace, and see if they give you a feeling. There’s “Mess of Wires,” “Mr. Plague,” “Common Trash,” and “Raw Materials,” so, yeah, it all feels kinda hard-edged and grimy and a little bit dangerous, like the trash compactor scene from the first Star Wars movie. In this case, you can judge a band by its titles! Over the past few years, Metz has become one of the best noise-rock bands on the planet, and Strange Peace is their strongest work yet. Here, the band retains all of its post-punk power and fury while injecting light and restraint into its songs. For evidence, seek out the serrated pop chorus of “Cellophane” or the gnarled and spectral melodies that shine through “Sink.” Metz still destroy, and if you go see ’em tonight, prepare to be bludgeoned in the very best way. BEN SALMON
9 pm, Doug Fir, $16.50-20
Akira Kurosawa doesn't have just one masterpiece on his resume, he has something closer to like, eight or nine of 'em. And while Seven Samurai is the boisterous one, and Ran is the heaviest, Ikiru is the quiet, contemplative, and profound one. Loosely inspired by Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Illyich, Ikiru focuses on a career bureaucrat who sees his own end rushing to meet him, attempts to glean a measure of meaning from his existence before it ceases, and finds it in the creation of a neighborhood playground. The result is a film that is simultaneously uplifting, inspirational, clinical, and devastating. BOBBY ROBERTS
6:30 pm, NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, $6-9
Cindy Wilson, Sarah Jaffe, Mini Blinds, Strange Babes DJs
As the coolly collected counterpart to Kate Pierson's fiery pizzazz in the B-52’s twin frontwoman attack, Cindy Wilson shared equal sonic space within the duo’s ecstatically joyful harmonies and the clouds of my teenage "Love Shack" crushworld. Post-"Cosmic Thing," however, Wilson has been relatively reserved from the spotlight, and only participates in the band’s activities intermittently. That’s why the release of her new album, Change, feels like drinking a delicious glass of cold water. Whether bursting through a psychedelic discotheque ("Mystic") or nonchalantly delivering slices of sparkling melancholy ("Brother"), Wilson’s voice oozes with her eternal strength and patented grooviness, especially when it’s filtered through modernist production. Even her punky roots bloom on the infectiously energetic "Brother." If you've ever freaked out to the chorus of "52 Girls" as much as I have, you should prioritize seeing this true musical heroine. CHRIS SUTTON
9 pm, Star Theater, $20-35
Rocketship, Kites at Night, Lida Husik
Chickfactor magazine is celebrating of 25 years of music, friendship, and community with parties all around the globe. The Portland installment includes a rare performance by beloved '90s twee pop outfit Rocketship, the Portland debut of Vancouver B.C.'s Kites at Night (featuring Rose Melberg), and a set by Portland-via-Washington D.C. singer/songwriter Lida Husik.
8 pm, Bunk Bar, $12-15
Slant: Live Queer Storytelling
The original LGBTQ storytelling event returns to the Mississippi stage with true, live stories from Ami Patel, Laurence Jones, Eduardo Sotelo, Zachary Thornhill, and more.
7 pm, Mississippi Studios, $13
The Dandy Warhols, Federale
Get in the holiday spirit with a "Cowboy Christmas Rock Show" featuring alternative rock from Portland institution the Dandy Warhols and some Ennio Morricone-inspired spaghetti western courtesy of Federale.
8 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $20-25
Dolphin Midwives, Caspar Sonnet, Arrington de Dionyso, Floom
Portland-based musician Sage Fisher (AKA Dolphin Midwives) creates enchanting experimental music using layered harp and vocal arrangements.
8 pm, The Know, $8
PWRHAUS, Poppet, Mike Sherk Band
Portland soul-pop auteur Tonality Star has emerged as one of the city’s best but relatively unknown songwriters. His solo work is fleshed out live with a revolving cast of musicians, and the band’s sultry performances have become something of a treasured secret. RYAN J. PRADO
8 pm, Turn! Turn! Turn!, $5
Sunday, Dec 10
Oh Rose, Boone Howard, Wet Dream
Our love for Olympia’s Oh, Rose has been well documented within these pages, but in case you missed out when they headlined back in April or when they opened a pair of sold-out Future Islands shows in September, we’re going to triple down on the recommendation. The band’s versatile blend of haunting folk, roaring psychedelic rock, and infectious pop music is unlike anything else in the region, and you owe it to yourself to get acquainted when an opportunity like this presents itself. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
8:30 pm, Holocene, $8
Patterson Hood has called Portland home for several years now, and as a result, we’re privy to the intimacy of the occasional solo performance. This is a fantastic circumstance, as Hood is one of the more arresting singer/songwriters active during the last 20 years. As co-frontman of the dangerously great Drive-By Truckers, Hood has made a career out of crafting vivid workaday tunes that dig deep into both his rural and metropolitan politics. On Election Day the band released a 7-inch that includes “The Perilous Night,” a politically charged track that addresses the polarization of fascism in America, picking up where the band left off with 2016’s American Band. Hood released his most recent solo album, Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance, five years ago, and he’s known to pepper in Drive-By Truckers tunes into his solo sets as well. RYAN J. PRADO
9 pm, Doug Fir, $18-20
Nicole Atkins, Lauren Ruth Ward, Thayer Sarrano
New Jersey-hailing singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins brings her soulful crooning and '60s psych-leaning Americana back to Portland for a headlining show supporting her latest full-length, Goodnight Rhonda Lee.
8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $15-18
The Mystery Box Show
Portland's long-running storytelling series dedicated to the sexier side of things returns the the Alberta Rose Theatre.
7 pm, Alberta Rose Theatre, $20-55
Julien Baker, Half Waif, Adam Torres
Julien Baker’s music is, in a sense, entirely predictable. Each song on her new album, Turn Out the Lights, is spare, sweeping, and heartrending. But hearing Baker sing is never dull—her music is wholly immersive, and Turn Out the Lights offers a space to mourn or to hope, depending on your mood. Baker grew up in a Christian household in Memphis, Tennessee, and came out to her family at 17. On “Appointments,” she sings each word like a prayer: “Maybe it’s all gonna turn out all right/And I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is/ I have to believe that it is.” ISABEL LYNDON
8 pm, Aladdin Theater, $16, all ages
The Chill Out
Raiyasha Paris and Friends Of Noise present a benefit concert supporting low income individuals and families during the holiday season. With live graffiti, b-boy dancing, and art displays, along with live perfromances by Cool Nutz, Rasheed Jamal, [E]mpress, CEG, Mauri Haze, BLK +IVY, Sxlxmxnder, Mia, Aaniya E Ramirezm New Birth & Killa Styles, and Cypher Cure. Hosted by Shrista Tyree.
7 pm, Eagles Lodge (F.O.E. #3256), $3-10, all ages
Do You Hear the People Sing
Celebrate international Human Rights Day by welcoming ICHRP PNW, a coalition for human rights in the Philippines comprised of several organizations including Portland CHRP, POPS, PIRC, and more. Expect amazing music, art, food, a silent auction, speeches, and more. EMILLY PRADO
2 pm, SEIU 503, free, all ages
Remember when Mel Gibson wasn’t a huge asshole? No? Well, remember when he was at least a somewhat entertaining asshole at least? Like in the family holiday classic Lethal Weapon, where he’s a suicidal cop with a dodgy American accent who constantly endangers Danny Glover’s life and gets his ass wrecked by Gary Busey, of all people? You remember that one? (Sighs) It’s the one that starts with Woody’s girlfriend Kelly from Cheers, all topless and snorting rails, before launching off a balcony onto a car 20 stories below. Oh, now you remember it. You pig.
9:15 pm, Laurelhurst Theater, $3-4
Don't forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to do!